ATLANTA (WAFB) - It will be strength-on-strength for the College Football Playoff Semifinal game, as LSU’s explosive offense will go against Oklahoma’s speedy defense.
LSU is led by quarterback Joe Burrow. He has thrown for 4,715 yards and 48 touchdowns to lead LSU to a 13-0 season. Both are LSU and SEC single-season records. He has completed 78 percent of his passes. The LSU offense averages just under 48 points per game. He has won the Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Player of the Year, Davey O’Brien, and Maxwell awards.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, has one of the fastest defenses in the country. The Sooners’ defensive coordinator ... you can’t make this up ... is named Grinch.
“It’s an elite group; I think, obviously, tremendous skill," said Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. "I think, certainly, the best offensive line. I think they were named the best offensive line in the country. The quarterback is the Heisman Trophy winner. The receiver is a Biletnikoff Award winner. So, obviously, couldn’t have any more respect for an opponent that way. How they attack you, their coaching staff does a tremendous job. So, it will be certainly a challenge for us.”
Grinch stresses speed and effort. His players have bought in, going at maximum speed with maximum effort. The Sooners are giving up 27 points per game this season and good enough to be ranked No. 28 in total defense. They especially made a huge jump in passing defense from last season. In 2018, OU was No. 130 in that category but have rocketed to No. 22 in 2019.
“I don’t put anything down against the defenses we play, because we play some great defenses," said LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger. "This might be the fastest defense we face. They can run. Their defensive line can run, their linebackers can run, their secondary can run. They present problems with their speed.”
“One of our goals this season was to have one of the fastest defenses in the country," said linebacker Kenneth Murray. "So, I think that’s something that’s been presented to us by our coaches and that’s something that we truly try to embody.”
“The energy and passion that’s shown when you’ve got 11 guys flying to the ball," added defensive tackle Neville Gallimore. "It’s one thing when your fast guys are doing it, but even being a D-lineman, it’s a sense of pride that comes into playing at a high level.”
“We’re here to handle business," noted wide receiver Justin Jefferson. "So, we’re excited for this game. We’re excited for this matchup and we’re just ready to go.”
“We’re loving it right now out here," wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase stated. "We’re having a lot of fun with the guys. As Justin said, we came out here to handle business. We’re taking care of the fun stuff right now. Then, once that’s over with, we’ll get to work.”
The Tigers and Sooners will kickoff at 3 p.m. (Central) on Saturday.
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